A wireless sensor network (WSN) is an ad-hoc technology that may even consist of thousands of nodes, which necessitates autonomic, self-organizing and multihop operations. A typical WSN node is battery powered, which makes the network lifetime the primary concern. The highest energy efficiency is achieved with low duty cycle operation, however, this alone is not enough. WSNs are deployed for different uses, each requiring acceptable Quality of Service (QoS). Due to the unique characteristics of WSNs, such as dynamic wireless multihop routing and resource constraints, the legacy QoS metrics are not feasible as such. We give a new definition to measure and implement QoS in low duty cycle WSNs, namely availability and reliability. Then, we analyze the effect of duty cycling for reaching the availability and reliability. The results are obtained by simulations with ZigBee and proprietary TUTWSN protocols. Based on the results, we also propose a data forwarding algorithm suitable for resource constrained WSNs that guarantees end-to-end reliability while adding a small overhead that is relative to the packet error rate (PER). The forwarding algorithm guarantees reliability up to 30% PER.